Sales of Apple's iPad will boost global IT spending, according to a report by analyst firm Gartner.
Tablet sales, driven largely by Apple's iPad, account for two per cent of Gartner's computing hardware growth forecast.
According to the report, which includes tablet sales for the first time, spending on computer hardware is set to grow by 9.5 per cent to $409bn in 2011 from $375bn in 2010. This figure drops to 7.5 per cent if spending on tablets is not included.
Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, told silicon.com that tablet sales have provided a "boost" to IT spending forecasts.
The report predicts that tablet sales will increase at an annual average rate of 52 per cent from 2010 to 2015. This growth equates to an increase in tablet sales from about $10bn in 2010 to $80bn in 2015.
However, despite the steep increase forecast for tablet sales, Gordon cautioned that the overall effect on IT spending will be limited. While tablets are creating additional spending, overall IT spending is forecast to grow by only 5.6 per cent. The Office for National Statistics put UK inflation at 4.4 per cent in March.
"The days of 10 per cent growth rates in IT spending are over," said Gordon. "They were driven by PCs and TVs - things like tablets are a boost to spending, but won't have as dramatic an overall effect."
Furthermore, Gordon points out that Gartner's forecast for spending on PCs has been revised down as some tablet sales are expected to replace PC purchases, particularly in businesses where PCs are not essential.
Gordon added that sales of single-function mobile devices such as e-readers will also decline as tablet sales increase.
While the current tablet market is essentially dominated by the iPad, which has about 93 per cent of the tablet market according to ABI Research, Gordon added that Apple cannot hold onto its present market share. Competitors such as HP's TouchPad and RIM's PlayBook are likely to take a greater share of tablet sales in the future.
While the Apple brand has a major influence on consumer sales, Gordon suggests it is likely to have less of an impact on tablet purchases from IT departments, which will place higher importance on cost-effectiveness and tablet specifications.